ITL EP. 02 - embracing the messiness of grief

This time of year asks me to deal with grief. And truth be told, I've been resistant. My dad passed away on Easter when I was a kid, my mom died in the end of May a couple of years back, and, well, Mother's and Father's Day.

Grief is hard. And uncomfortable. But mostly, I don't think we live in a society that has a terribly good track record of resourcing people to deal with it. 

There is a western cultural belief about the 5 Stages of Grief that was born in the 70's with a book called "On Death and Dying" written by a woman named Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. I remember my mom reading that book after my Dad died, and I also remember the 9 year old me being painfully aware that my grief was not something I was supposed to share.

Fast forward almost 30 years to when my mom died and again the work of Kübler-Ross came up. Except that it was the book she wrote before she died called "On Grief and Grieving." It essentially lays out the same linear stages of loss, all nice and clean and compartmentalized. And wide swaths of society adhere to it as the truth about how we are supposed to grieve. But I don't buy it, at very least not in my own experience. 

For example, Kübler-Ross describes the final stage of loss as acceptance. But anyone who has buckled down and cared for a loved one while they pass, and dealt with the estate and packing all the damn boxes knows, acceptance is the first stage. Otherwise you would never get all the work done.

There are a number of other reasons I don't think the Kübler-Ross paradigm works, and I discuss that further in this episode. But it is important to me to highlight work in the world that does make sense to me. And I do that in this episode too. From an authentic still frame photograph in a documentary called Griefwalker to Camp Erin, a grief camp for kids.

And of course, below is a list of other resources I mention if you want to keep digging.

Catch you in the matrix y'all! 

Ruth Davis Konigsberg and The Truth About Grief

Stephen Jenkinson and the Orphan Wisdom School & "Die Wise: A Manifesto for Sanity and Soul"

“One Last Hug: Three Days at Grief Camp”

C.S. Lewis & “A Grief Observed.”